9 Things to do in idyllic Inverness

9 Things to do in idyllic Inverness

by Anna Leigh Bagiackas
Stripes Europe

Named one of the happiest places to live in the U.K., Inverness is situated on the northern coast of Scotland and is the capital and largest city of the Scottish Highlands. It is located on the River Ness and is connected by bridges, including the Greig Street Bridge, a suspension footbridge just for pedestrians. Encompassing Highland and Scottish culture, it is an important place for bagpipers and those passionate about the celebrated Highland Games. And it has been featured in literature throughout history—from Shakespeare’s classic play “Macbeth” to the book series (and now popular Netflix show) “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon. And yes, it is also home to the infamous Loch Ness monster, locally known as Nessie.

If you’re planning a trip to this Scottish treasure, here are a few ideas for how to experience the city:

Satisfy your castle fix. What is a European trip without at least one castle? Take your pick, because trips to Inverness Castle or Urquhart Castle will give you that Scottish history you’re looking for.

Take a hike. There are three not-so-insignificant long-distance footpaths connected by Inverness: the Great Glen Way, John O’Groats Trail and South Loch Ness Trail. What better way to see and truly experience the Highlands?

Get your shopping on. Whether it’s the covered Victorian Market or Eastgate Shopping Centre, the city center has a lot to offer touring shoppers from clothing and souvenirs to fresh produce and specialty treats.

See a show at Eden Court theater. Depending on the time of year, catch live outdoor music or a show at this riverside theater and arts complex.

Get lost in literature at Leakey’s. Book lovers should make their way to Scotland’s largest secondhand bookstore, which is located in a former Gaelic church for an afternoon lost in words.

Wander through Ness Islands. Just a short stroll from the city center, these are naturally created islands in the Ness River that are connected via Victorian footbridges. Bring a cup of coffee to sit and enjoy a rest in this lovely spot or bring your kids to explore some of the more interactive areas.

Experience the mythical magic at Clava Cairns. These chambered burial grounds are located next to the historic Culloden Battlefield, home to the 1745 Jacobite Rising. This was a key point in history for Scotland and the clans. These are also a central part of the “Outlander” series, for those who have read or watched the series.

Brush up on your Scottish military history. Continue your deep dive into the region’s military history with a day trip to Fort George, the 18th-century military garrison that served the British army through the Battle of Culloden. This expansive fortification took nearly 22 years to complete construction and during a visit, you can even visit one of two dog cemeteries in Scotland.

Sip the good stuff. In the heart of Inverness, a stop at the Highland Malt Whisky Experience will provide good Scottish company, music and whisky. For a trip out of the city, make a reservation at the Glen Ord Distillery and make your way there to see how this liquid gold is made.

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